Microsoft bans April Fools’ pranks over risk of ‘unwanted’ news

Brittany A. Roston - Mar 27, 2019, 4:06 pm CDT
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Microsoft bans April Fools’ pranks over risk of ‘unwanted’ news

Without fail, every April Fools’ Day brings fake press releases, occasionally amusing non-existent product announcements, and other pranks directed at the public. These jokes are usually some degree of absurd, making it easy to identify the nonsense from legit announcements, but some people fall for them regardless. Not everyone enjoys these pranks and now Microsoft has officially banned them.

Of course, Microsoft can’t save us from all April Fools’ pranks, but it is doing its part in reversing the trend by banning any corporate involvement in the annoying holiday. News of the ban surfaced in a leaked internal memo including a warning that data backs up restricting the company’s involvement in jokes.

The document was obtained by The Verge, which states that Microsoft marketing chief Chris Capossela issued the memo, warning that ‘these stunts have limited positive impact and can actually result in unwanted news cycles.’ That is, some people fall for the fake announcements and spread them as if they were real.

April Fools’ Day will proceed at other companies, no doubt, and there’s no shortage of history involving major tech corporations. Microsoft itself has previously engaged in the tradition with its own pranks, and some companies have even taken things too far, such as when Google put Minions in Gmail and got ample backlash from its users.

When April 1 arrives, you should take any announcements with a grain of salt. That’s not to say that everything stated on that day will be false — many companies have had authentic announcements on April Fools’ — but rather that if something sounds bizarre or too good to be true, it’s probably a prank.


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